web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



My Tanta Shirley’s Enterprise

Once the children were grown, my aunt decided to give love and care to many lonely, elderly Jewish women in Williamsburg.

Illustration image.

Illustration image.
Photo Credit: wwwuppertal

On the seventh day of Pesach, in the early hours of the morning, a great light went out in our world. My aunt, “Tanta” Shirley (Shaina Esther bas Menachem Mendel) Szmerkes, returned her special soul to God.

She was born to Russian Immigrants who came to America to make a better life for themselves, and her mother, Sarah Chana, and father, Menachem Mendel met and started out their lives in what is now called Spanish Harlem.

They opened a fruit store, and it supported their growing family – three daughters and one son. The depression hit them and in a short while they lost everything. Then Shirley’s mother took very ill and all the siblings were left pretty much out in the streets, fending for themselves. One sister married very early, and another suffered an infection that was neglected and went to her heart, so a City agency put her into foster care for the rest of her childhood. Shirley’s baby brother was born severely premature and was left with major learning disabilities.

Shirley was in school most of the day, but did not have much of a home to come to and had to rely on kind people who took her in to share their food and shelter.

As she grew up, she met her husband, Irving Yizchak Yosef, who came to America from the Holocaust, having lost his parents and all his siblings from the city of Bialystock, Poland. He miraculously escaped from a concentration camp and ran into the forest, where he wandered and barely survived until the war ended.

Shirley and Irving had a lot in common, as both had survived their devastating childhood years, and were determined to rebuild their lives together.

Irving worked for Meal Mart, driving their tractor trailers and delivering meat to the frum communities of New York City. Shirley was a loving mother to her three sons, and sent them all to the Mesivta Tiferes Yerushalyim on the Lower East Side, from preschool through high school.

Once the children were grown, my aunt decided to give love and care to many lonely, elderly Jewish women in Williamsburg.

My aunt would rise very early in the morning and go from apartment to apartment, delivering fresh milk and bread. She made sure they each had a hot meal from the Williamsburg Meals on Wheels program. If there were no cars available, my aunt would pick up the hot meals and schlep them in her shopping cart to all her shut ins.

One good deed lead to another, and she started bathing and dressing those same shut ins, going to doctor appointments with them, helping them with their banking – any need that required the help of a healthy woman with two healthy legs.

My dear aunt Shirley truly wanted to go on doing what she was doing for years on end, but Hashem in His infinite wisdom decided that her time was up. She was sick for one year exactly, in and out of the hospital, and her biggest sorrow was that she couldn’t keep caring for all the people that needed her.

She had no interest in worldly assets. She was happy with very little, by choice.

I know that my Tanta Shirley will be a Melitz Yosher (defender in Heaven) for Klall Israel, and surely she will beg the Aibishter to hasten the coming of Moshiach.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “My Tanta Shirley’s Enterprise”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Dozens of children were traumatized but escaped injury Sunday morning when Arabs in eastern Jerusalem attacked their bus.
‘Benign Neglect’ May Be Setting Up Eastern Jerusalem Jews for Expulsion
Latest News Stories
A  new discovery of an ancient stalactite cave has revealed fascinating colors and shapes.

The exact location is secret because of safety concerns. How long before the PA claims it is theirs?

Police confiscate marijuana from a walled farm.

Police arrested three men from central Israel on Friday after confiscating 3.5 tons of marijuana in a raid on a farm that was hidden by walls. Police said the farm was located in the Sharon region, which covers the area north of Tel Aviv and includes Netanyahu and neighboring communities, but the exact location was […]

President Ruby Rivlin greets new Olim as they step off the plane.

Israel wellomed 24,801 new immigrants this past year. Another 6-8 million did not make it – yet.

Dozens of children were traumatized but escaped injury Sunday morning when Arabs in eastern Jerusalem attacked their bus.

Benign neglect could be setting up Jews in eastern Jerusalem for “Gush Katif No. 2”

A good Jewish boy has a Bar Mitzvah at 13. A good Muslim fanatic joins the ISIS.

The ISIS terror group has released its first “feature length” film.” It’s worthy of an Oscar. Not.

Unconfirmed reports from Syria claiming that ISIS has executed UK aid worker Alan Henning.

Ashkenazi Jews begin saying Selichot tonight, the week of Rosh Hashana.

Someone with a Jewish calendar must have finally realized that Wednesday night is Rosh Hashana.

Turkey has retrieved 49 citizens who were held hostage by the ISIS terror organization in Iraq, allegedly without paying ransom.

For the first time ever, Iran and China have begun joint naval drills focusing on “relief and rescue operations” in the Persian Gulf.

US Defense corporation Lockheed Martin has registered an Israeli subsidiary after opening an office in Be’er Sheva.

PM Binyamin Netanyahu and FM Yair Lapid have reportedly come to an agreement over the 2015 state budget for Israel.

A delegation of 12 Jordanian parliamentarians have cancelled a planned visit to Gaza on security grounds.

ConEd has created a series of multilingual gas safety videos for New Yorkers.

Even secular Jews are slamming Yair Lapid for a calling a press conference on Shabbat about absolutely nothing important.

More Articles from Tzippy Clapman
Illustration image.

Once the children were grown, my aunt decided to give love and care to many lonely, elderly Jewish women in Williamsburg.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/my-tanta-shirleys-enterprise/2013/04/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: